The next sustainable success story starts here

The energy industry is currently in the midst of a major transformation, the pace of which will only accelerate as the pressure to stop climate warming increases. No single actor or organisation can tackle this change alone; cooperation and new connections are needed.

This is what is offered by Fortum’s Valkea Growth Club, which is based at Helsinki’s Maria 01, the largest startup campus in the Nordic countries. Valkea also acts as a virtual growth club for startups in other Nordic countries and helps companies tackling the challenges of clean energy and sustainability to grow.

A place for sustainable growth

At Valkea, something new is created every day and successes are witnessed weekly: products and services, or elements of them, are launched and new customer relationships are established. In addition to the active brainstorming and media attention, the days include a lot of the typical challenges entrepreneurs have to deal with, from recruitment to team building and from sales to preparing for funding rounds.

Valkea was created in 2020 out of the need to create a place that would give startups – those emerging from within Fortum as well as external startups that are co-owned by Fortum – the best possible environment in which to grow. Valkea makes innovation entrepreneurship more profitable and rewarding, and it helps companies to create networks. The muscle of a big energy company brings market credibility to innovations. “It has been noticed that startups and corporations are very different as actors, and they don’t always speak the same language. The practices of a large company aren’t necessarily suitable for a small startup, so they need a different growth environment,” says Tony-Frank Holmström, Startup Portfolio Growth and Investment Manager at Valkea.

Success stories emerge from open-minded thinking

There is already a track record of many success stories., which got its start at Fortum, is the world’s leading platform for carbon removal, linking companies that want to neutralise their carbon emissions with suppliers offering carbon removal solutions. Fortum sold a majority stake in to the US-based Nasdaq in 2021. The partnership with Nasdaq will accelerate Puro’s growth and development and will strengthen its global position. Another Fortum startup, the innovative electric vehicle charging service, Recharge, has spread to more than 2,600 charging points in the Nordic countries and has already generated more than 200 million CO2-free driving kilometres. Today, Recharge is owned by Infracapital.

Future success stories are also simmering under the surface. “At the moment, we have a number of very promising innovations in development across different parts of the value chain. Together they will play a major role in moving towards the green transition,” notes Holmström. Valkea’s portfolio includes Magsort, which is developing milling machines to extract valuable metals from the slag produced by waste incineration, and Hiven, a provider of smart energy solutions that help consumers and businesses

use energy smarter, cheaper and cleaner. The portfolio also includes Exeger, the flexible coating innovation that can generate electrical energy from any light source, making them self-charging.

Collaboration and sustainable partnerships

So, what’s behind the creation of innovations? “Ease of use, need-driven and collaboration,” says Jani Leirimaa, Hiven’s founder. Innovations must be simple enough to use, and they must be perceived as providing benefits you are willing to pay for. At the heart of it all is collaboration – understanding that no one person can be good at everything, that success comes from the right partnerships,” he adds.

In addition to internal innovation entrepreneurship, Valkea Growth Club collaborates with startups outside of Fortum and acts as an enabler for fruitful collaboration between Fortum and startups. This gives the startups access not only to funding but also to Fortum’s deep industry knowledge, customers and markets – and that creates significant added value.

“Our message to all startups tackling the challenges of clean energy and sustainability: we are interested in working with you to explore how Valkea could help you grow,” encourages Tony-Frank Holmström.


Valkea Growth Club

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